After a solid first show, Stardom’s Tag League continued into night two, as I realise that because I’ve started reviewing this, I’m probably going to get obsessive and do the whole thing. Oops. Oh well, fingers crossed someone cares enough to read it.
MOMOAZ (Momo Watanabe & AZM) (1-0) defeated wing★gori (Saya Iida & Hanan) (0-1)
They are going to win fuck all matches, but you can put me down as a fan of wing★gori. Hanan and Iida brought a winged gorilla to the ring with them (it was a teddy, not an actual animal, although that would be cool) and are both delightful.
Not that they seemed to know they weren’t going to win. They took a surprising amount of this match, attacking before the bell and trying to blitz through MOMOAZ as they went after Momo’s arm. Every time I assumed momentum was going to turn in the veteran’s favour, Iida and Hanan would regain control, looking like a strong pairing.
It also highlighted just how much Hanan has improved. Are we sure she was out injured and didn’t spend the year at a secret training camp? She’s graduated from being a kid wrestler, growing into her ability and carrying herself like someone who knows she’s good. I’d say part of that is the confidence of growing up, but my teenage years certainly didn’t see me become more sure of myself. Whatever it is, it had me forgetting the no wins things for a moment; a misfired Momo kick during an exchange of roll-ups between having me biting on the finish.
It wasn’t to be, but this suggested that Tag League could be a big tournament for Hanan. She’s still not long back from injury, and this is a chance to wrestle a load of talented people with Gori-chan by her side. They might not win much, but I’m looking forward to watching.
Verdict: Surprisingly Great
Donna del Mondo (Giulia, Natsupoi and Maika) defeated STARS (Riho, Gokigen Death and Rina)
I feel like a bit of a traitor saying this considering my love of the metals, but Gokigen Death might be an improvement on Death Yama-san, and I loved Death Yama-san. She is balancing wonderfully on that line between terrifying and joyous, while also giving Riho the chance to embrace her silly side. If there’s one thing I love, it’s a silly side.
And we got a bit more of Giulia’s here too, as she went back to the throat thrust she attempted to use during the 5STAR. Death was prepared this time, blocking it and kicking off some fun interactions. I have little to no faith that Stardom will ever reason how big a group of goofs they’ve assembled in DDM, but I live in hope.
As a final note, Rina kept her mini-Hana gear which I was pleased to see. Fingers crossed she doesn’t get lost in the slightly bloated faction that is STARS because she’s come on a lot. I want to see that wee teen rebel flourish.
Verdict: Embrace The Silly
Black Widows (Konami and Bea Priestley) (1-0-1) defeated MK☆Sisters (Mayu Iwatani and Starlight Kid) (0-2)
Starlight Kid was marking her fifth anniversary at the age of, I believe, eighteen. It’s safe to say that I watch a fair bit of joshi and should probably be used to that stuff by now, but it still makes me laugh. The lass is already a better wrestler than a lot of highly decorated performers and could, in theory, do it for another thirty, forty years. Of course, she could also retire next week and leave behind a hella respectable career. I’m twenty-eight and don’t feel like I’ve achieved a fraction of what she has.
I’m repeating myself, but if she does stick around, I have full faith that she will go on to be a star. She is as pure a babyface as you can find in the hell hole that is 2020, able to emote despite the mask and the kind of wrestler that kids will fall in love with. On top of that, she’s probably cool enough that she won’t come across too dorky (although, as mentioned above, I’m twenty-eight, so let’s not pretend I know what kids believe to be cool). Unless something goes wrong, ten years from now she should be one of the people on top of Stardom or any other promotion she ends up in.
As I mentioned before, I’m choosing to use Bea Priestley matches to say some nice things about one of the wrestlers involved. If you want proper reviews, they are out there.
Verdict: Kid Is Cool
Dream☆H (Tam Nakano and Mina Shirakawa) (1-0) defeated Devil’s Duo (Natsuko Tora and Saki Kashima) (0-1)
Tam seems to be going ultra horny, and I can’t pretend I love it. She and Mina both seem confident in their own skin, and I assume (or at least hope) they’re both comfortable with it, but is it necessary? Stardom is not exactly lacking in fan service as it is, and I’m not sure they need to try harder to appeal to the horny old man demographic. Wrestling is full of incredibly attractive people, so there’s always going to be a smidge of thirst, but it’s also the stuff that tends to put off other women from coming to the shows.
Anyway, as a guy, I’m not wholly qualified to talk about that, so let’s move onto the action (insert joke about not being fit to talk about that either). It was decent, but with a couple of caveats. Again, Natsuko was out there working a 50/50 match, going back and forth with Tam who is someone she should be beating the snot out of. It also didn’t feel like Tam and Mina had quite clicked as a pairing yet, most of the match spent with them both working solo in comparison to Devil’s Duo who played a prick pairing well.
On the flipside, Mina picking up the win was a relief, gaining revenge for her defeat to Saki the day before and giving me hope that she’s not in Stardom merely to be a pretty face. Also, as much as the pairing didn’t blow me away, I thought her individual performance was strong, as she seems to be settling in nicely. Where does that leave us? I reckon we can call it a solid match.
Verdict: Decent, But Flawed
Grab The Top (Syuri and Jumbo) (1-0) defeated AphroditE (Utami Hayashishita and Saya Kamitani) (0-1-1)
Jumbo has ridiculous facial expressions. If you want proof of that, watch her exchanging Lariats with Utami, the way she turns away, mouth and eyes wide as she stares up to the rafters. It elicited full-blown giggles from me. I only tend to notice the look on people’s faces when they’re particularly lacking, but Jumbo cracked through my obliviousness with that bit of overacting.
It was part of a match where she and Syuri were made to look pretty damn dominant. They may have been wrestling the tag champs, but for roughly 90% of the action, they were in control. It felt like they’d stifled AprodhitE, isolating them both at various times and looking like the more established team. Don’t get me wrong. Utami and Saya had their moments, but they weren’t as in this match as you might have expected.
That meant as we entered the final stretch, I was convinced the champs were going to turn it around and get the win. As is the norm with these things, though, I was wrong. There were a couple of near falls, Saya hitting what was closer to a Running Shooting Star Headbutt, but that massive Jumbo Powerbomb saw Grab The Top home.
I can’t pretend I loved this as it felt competent more than exciting, the action never quite flaring to life. Still, there also wasn’t anything I can specifically pick out as being wrong with it, so there is every chance I’m just in a mood. It’s probably one worth checking out yourself.
Verdict: Not Bad, But A Bit Dry
Jumbo cashed in her 5STAR victory by challenging Giulia for the white belt post-match. She’s been making eyes at the boss since stepping through the door and vowed to take the belt off her on what will be Giulia’s third anniversary.
My favourite match on that show was probably the opener. I can’t sit here and call it a bad night of Tag League because nothing sucked, but a lot of it wasn’t clicking with me. As I said while rambling about the main event, I might just be in a mood, but it won’t go down as a vintage Stardom show.
Watch Stardom: http://www.stardom-world.com/